I am currently taking Theology IV at my high school as a senior. I have been through scripture study freshman year, Church history sophomore year, and morality junior year. But this past week in class, my teacher, Sr. Maria, took us all the way back to the beginning. She focused the lecture on creation, the spiritual reality, God, the purpose of our existence. Come on Sister, this is Theology IV, I thought to myself. I was thinking that we were beyond these “elementary and basic topics” with all that we had learned as seniors in high school. But, wow, was I wrong. Sr. Maria got us to recognize that these questions are the entire reason that we study theology in the first place. They’re the entire reason why we are living! I now have a new perspective on these fundamental questions of our faith, and though I can’t come close to explaining them as well as Sister did, I will do my best.
First of all, the spiritual realm is real. It exists as a dimension just like space and time. The spiritual reality can affect the physical reality too. A person’s soul is alive, and is a real part of their being, as real as a hand or a foot. However, since the spiritual realm is outside of space and time, we can’t see it. We can’t see our soul, we can’t see God (most of the time), we can’t see our guardian angel, and that’s why it’s so hard to understand.
But within this spiritual dimension is the source of all things: God. Just think about that for a second. God created everything and every person and every spirit out of nothing. God can’t be put into a box; He can’t be fully defined. For example, if I want to know what a pencil is, I can search “pencil” and get a definition from Merriam Webster: “an implement for writing, drawing, or marking consisting of or containing a slender cylinder or strip of a solid marking substance.” Boom, there’s my definition. I can move on with life. But God isn’t like that. He takes on many forms, and there is always more to know about God.
God created humans purely out of love. It’s not like He was lonely or bored and wanted some little action figures to play around with. No. God made us simply out of love and gave us free will even though He knew we were going to mess up! How could God love us that much?
His love and mercy is inexhaustible. Our human minds can’t wrap around that idea, but God’s love is infinite. As is His knowledge. He knows you better than you know yourself, and knows what you are destined to do. Yet, God still wants to talk with you. He still wants to hear about your day, what you are happy about, what you are struggling with etc. To think that we can talk to the creator of the Universe and that He actually listens to us, that completely astounds me. Heck, sometimes I can’t even get my mom to listen to me!
It’s tough for the real meaning of the word “love” to sink in because we hear it so much. Unfortunately, because there is only word for love in the English language, someone could say that “I love pizza” and then turn to their spouse and say “I love you”. It’s kind of strange when you think about it that way. Nevertheless, God loves us on an entirely different level than we can comprehend or define. In fact, God is love itself. (1 John 4:8)
Speaking of love, did you ever realize that salvation history is actually a love story? It begins with God, who sheds His ever-giving love on us, and we have the choice to trust and accept that love or reject it. He first gave this choice to the angels, and some of them said “no” to God and tried to become their own gods. Satan and his demons then brought evil to the world. However, it’s important to know that this was not God’s doing, it was Satan acting freely against God. Henceforth, Satan got Adam and Eve to fall and they were destined for hell along with the rest of us.
But God loved us too much to let Satan take us down with him. The Lord became like us, in all things except sin, and came down to earth. To come down as a human and feel all of our pain and be crucified showed a tremendous amount of love. In fact, it was this loving sacrifice that saved mankind. And though we are saved, we are still broken. That’s why He gave us the Sacraments and His church, to renew the love with us once again. So we again see how it all traces back to love.
There’s one more little thing that the Holy Spirit compelled me to put on here. The world is always imperfect. Our understanding is always limited. Our connection to God is always a little bit fractured. But that is only the case on earth, right now. Our home is heaven. Imagine heaven, where everything is perfected, all mysteries are revealed, and where we will get to see God in all of His fullness. That will truly be a glorious day!